Dec 21, 2006

UNPO Seeks Urgent Action Intervention on the Case of Jigme Gyatso

UNPO has called upon the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention for Urgent Intervention in the case of Jigme Gyatso, Tibetan political prisoner currently detained at Chushul prison.

21 December 2006 - The Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) is seeking an Urgent Action Intervention by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention on the fate of Tibetan political prisoner Jigme Gyatso currently detained at Chushul (Chinese: Qushui) Prison on the outskirts of Lhasa, the Tibetan capital.

Excerpt from the correspondence issued to the Working Group:

"We note with appreciation that the Working Group considered the case of Jigme Gyatso’s through the Working Group’s Opinion No. 8/2000 adopted on 17 May 2000 and that during the Group’s follow-up visit to the People’s Republic of China in 2004, information on his situation status was provided by the Chinese authorities.  We believe he was one of the Tibetan political prisoners to whom the Working Group was denied access at Drapchi Prison.

During the visit by Mr. Manfred Nowak to Chushul Prison, the Special Rapporteur on Torture was able to meet with Jigme Gyatso.  According to Mr. Nowak’s mission report, Jigme Gyatso told the Special Rapporteur that “on 30 March 1996, he was arrested and beaten by the criminal investigation team. He was subsequently sentenced to 15 years imprisonment and 5 years deprivation of political rights on 25 November 1996 by Lhasa Municipal Intermediate People’s Court for the crime of endangering national security in connection with establishing an illegal organization… He told the Special Rapporteur that the ill treatment was worst in Gutsa, where he stayed for one year and one month. Since the persons he was charged together with had already confessed, he also decided to confess. He then was transferred to Drapchi Prison in April 1997. In one incident in March 2004, he yelled out, “Long live the Dalai Lama,” for which he was kicked and beaten, including with electric batons. The electric batons were used on his back and chest with painful effect, and ceased once the Chief of Police came and stopped it. After this incident his sentence was extended for an additional two years.”

Information emerging from Tibet now suggests that Jigme Gyatso has been maltreated and held in isolation following his meeting with Mr. Manfred Nowak and according to Dui Hua Foundation the actual sentence extension was three years.

The Fall 2006 issue of Dialogue, a newsletter published by The Dui Hua Foundation,  reports that Jigme Gyatso received a three-year extension in May 2004 for "inciting splittism" after he shouted pro-Dalai Lama slogans in TAR Prison (Drapchi). This means Jigme Gyatso is now scheduled for release only in 2014.  Reports also suggest that more restrictions have been placed on the monthly family visits rights of Jigme Gyatso and that his health is worsening rapidly."

In view of these emerging news about the fate of Jigme Gyatso, UNPO appeals to the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention to immediately launch an Urgent Action Intervention on Jigme Gyatso’s situation with the Chinese authorities.  Furthermore, UNPO urges the Working Group to join the call of the Special Rapporteur on Torture that Jigme Gyatso be released.